Scammers prey on victims' fears. One police captain in Madison said he's been seeing it all this year, and it can cost victims a lot of money.
"There's everything from the lottery, you've won the lottery, we need you to pay us a processing fee or the taxes," said Capt.Terrell Cook of the Madison Police Department.
He said one person is out $25,000, and another lost $1,000 last week.
Vernon Baines, a victim from North Carolina, said they conned him by saying he owed $2,000 in back taxes.
"I answered the phone because it had treasury department across the top," Baines said. "I kept telling him, 'I don't want to go to jail'."
Local authorities said legitimate operations don't collect money over the phone.
"The way we operate is not on a cash money basis. There is no government agency that will call you over the phone and threaten arrest if you don't pay," said Lt. Brian Chaffin of the Madison County Sheriff's Office.
Chaffin advises folks to hang up on anyone who threatens to arrest them over the phone.
"Just hang the phone up and call their local law enforcement agency. Never, never give anybody any money over the phone," he said.
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